Playing with colour and design

I love the Cynara structural plant, looming like a giant thistle. I can see so many shapes and textures.

Back in the Studio, I began playing with oil pastels, water and made marks with sticks and sponges. Sometimes it can be a simple moment in the garden which gives inspiration. I’m glad it’s cooler now so that I can pop in and out of the Studio, however there’s never enough time!

Pop over to my other Lavendermoon site for more pictures and poetry.


Studio inspiration

It’s hard to feel inspired when the wind is bitter and there are snow blizzards, however this morning the sunshine warmed the Studio: it smelled of a welcoming wood so I decided to have a play.

Summer colour

Mid summer here we come with an abundance of flowers in the garden to enjoy. I particularly love scented roses in delicate pinks or hot orange and yellow calendulas and  zinnias. Yarrow which is beautifully structural has replaced the poppies and dahlias are very cheerfu!

Enjoy a little taste of our country garden and lets hope the wweather is kind to us this week. 🙂

Down the garden path

We’ve just had an unbelievably hot week, or more. Everyday I have been up early watering the garden and greenhouse before taking the dogs for their walk. I am really enjoying the garden now as it is a joy to see plants I’ve grown from seed flourish and last year’s plants particularly Dahlias appear. I love the variety of colour and textures in the garden. The oriental poppies as have wild poppies been spectacular, I love watching their delicate papery petals dancing in the breeze. When they are backlit by the sun in late afternoon they look stunning.  This year we decided to buy garden furniture so we can sit with a cup of tea or a meal, watching the visiting birds swooping about, landing on a hoe or garden fork, they can be comical. Goldfinches are beautiful birds.  We are proud of our garden, it has a long way to go but it is  like an artist’s canvas turning into nature’s theatre. You can’t beat it! 

I hope you’re all having a good week. 🙂

Art studio up and running!

Gradually I am moving my artist materials and equipment into the  log cabin art studio, which is situated about half way down our large garden.  We purchased most of the vintage furniture from our local auction as I wanted a homely, eclectic feel to my studio. My husband bought me the printing press from an antique shop in Ampthill called the Emporium, for Christmas.  I have basic heating and lighting and when our home extension is built I will have everything I need.

I am really enjoying having my own space. I pop down when I like, make a cup of tea, ponder my art books, sketch, write in my studio diary or just watch the birds on the feeders, the sun going down, cloud formations, bees on the flowers or listening to the rustling of leaves, or the cockeral next door. It is just so magical!

The Aquilegia or Columbine Is a beautiful fairylike plant which just loves growing in  our garden. I love its delicate petals and the colours are faded and old fashioned. I decided to pick a few blooms for the studio to do loose watercolour painting cameos, which I will add glazes to later on, or I may just leave them looking fresh and delicate. 

The colours haven’t photographed well, however hopefully you’ll get the essence!

Progress in the cottage garden

We have been working hard to make the garden look colourful and working on the structure. 

My husband has now got his greenhouse up and running and my seedlings and tomoato plants are enjoying the warmth. Hubs has started to dig vegetable beds and raised beds for the veg growing Iin the greenhouse. It is all very experimental.

As you can see, I now have my studio where I can write, paint, do printmaking, upholstery or just enjoy quiet moments. 

It’s wonderful to spend time in the garden, working or pottering about listening to the birds bees and butterflies. 

The roses are coming out too! Unfortunately the frost has taken many young plants including three acers! Our peach tree has a fungus which is a shame, although apparently it will bear fruit. I hope so because the peaches are wonderful. 

I am currently working on various watercolours and prints which I’ll show you hopefully soon. I am so proud of hubby for managing to create this beautiful haven, he is working full time too! We are both looking forward to his retirement in tge fairly near future fingers crossed!

We have today had a little rain, but not enough to fill our waterbutts! I hope you are enjoying your gardens or green spaces around you. Happy weekend to come. 🙂

Bountiful spring borders

Last spring we only had a few shrubs in this border, so we spent ages last autumn planting various tulips, narcissi, gorgeous old fashioned wallflowers, and many more. What an ambundance of varieties and colours!

My lack of wordpress posts is because of necessary weeding, deadheading, pruning and planting whilst my husband designs new borders and features. It is wonderful to be serenaded by the birds and bees. There are quite a few butterflies about too, the yellow, tourtoiseshell and the painted lady so far.

I hope you are out in your gardens enjoying spring and if it is still cold where you live, I hope my photos cheer you up.

Harvest Chutney

September has been fun in the garden, collecting crab apples, eating and cooking apples and plums from our trees. I’ve also harvested lovely Tomatoes from my five plants from which we’ve been eating daily in salads with our home grown lettuce.  Laterly I’ve made pasta sauce to freeze. In the fields surrounding Cople, on my dog walks,  we’ve enjoyed picking Elderberries and Blackberries. The Sloes are ripening nicely too, although we’ve still got plenty of Sloe gin to drink and give away.

I love the look of the hedges jumbled with tumbling blackberries and rosehips. Today the sun is shining, the tractors are ploughing the fields, the crows and blackbirds sit on bare branches watching over the landscape; hares dart about and deer run in and out of the furrows and hedges around the fields. Every day has a story to tell.

Harvest Chutney Recipe

300g onions chopped

700g plums, stoned and quartered,

350g blackberries

600g cooking apples

75g elderberries

600ml organic red wine vinegar

125g dried cranberries

350g soft light brown sugar

1tsp all spice

1tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp coriander

A pinch of sea salt

A ppinch of chilli flakes

Makes 6 x 340g jars

Keeps for 12 months


Put all the ingredients into a preserving pan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring. Make sure that the sugar has dissolved.

2. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the chutney has reduced, stirring frequently. 

3. When the chutney is ready, check by drawing a wooden spoon across the surface, it should leave a trail. 

4. Pot the chtney into sterilized jars, label and date and put jars into a cool dark place for at least a few weeks before eating. 

Celebrating the cottage garden in pictures

Sorry lovely readers, this photo collage, as you will have probably guessed was originally meant to go with the previous post. Oh the joys of techical hitches! 

Enjoy! I will be out working in the garden soon planting the sage plant given to me by my dad yesterday and weeding. I also have gorgeous yellow and apricot lillies to plant in a border. As I love to do yoga stretches in my garden I am planning a serenity area. Any ideas for planting or water features are most welcome! 🙂

Celebrating our first summer

At Brown Hare cottage garden we are celebrating our first year. Last year we worked very hard getting rid of brambles and weeds. We grew flowers from seeds, planted many gifted plants and planned and created borders and a new cutting garden. As we have our bordder collies we have their interests at heart too, so there are areas they can explore. There is also a fenced vegetable garden with raised beds. Currently we have blackberry bushes, raspberry and currant bushes as well as tomatoes and courgettes.